The Skeptics Guide #800 - Nov 7 2020


And this is your host. Stephen avella joining me this week. Or bob morella. Everybody terrorist santamaria. Howdy bella and evan bernstein. Good evening folks. so i'm sure we're all exhausted after the last twenty four hours. God yes but just to say that while we're recording this show. We don't know who won the election. You don't know who the next president is going to be. But if you're listening to this show you probably do so. We're trying your who knows you. I'm assuming you do so we're not gonna really talk about it much you know. It's still something in the process of happening. Say is going to be obsolete before the show comes out and in any case. There's something much more important to talk about. This is show episode number eight hundred. That's good sneaked up on sunday. I'm done now. I'm totally done now. You know so a little bit less than two years ago. Four years four years from now four years. We'll hit a thousand definitely. Celebrate that in two thousand five. I said steve. Don't forget after eight hundred done when you said. Yeah yeah my mind up all right. I'll do another eight hundred really had to twist your arm. There need to talk about covert a little bit this week because there's something else there's another record today. In the united states we had the single largest day of new cases. We broke one hundred thousand so far today right. I thought we turned the corner hundred four. Yeah the the wrong direction now. One hundred and four thousand new cases so far the day's not over yet but it's already the most new cases in a single day this third surge or peak. Whatever you wanna call it is definitely going to be bigger than the previous two it partly because it's is the way this pandemic is rolling but also it's you know. Colder weather is coming to the to the northern hemisphere which means that people stay in longer or more inside. I think there's definitely pandemic fatigue setting in Also kids back to school. Schools are trying to have kids in the classroom but then they're doing like jays. Your kids got your schools. Got shut down for a couple of weeks. My daughter's doing halftime online halftime in school. But they're trying and that may contribute to cases probably the all. The campaigning didn't help and now we're worried about a double hit from the flu and covid right so go out and get your flu. Vaccine don't wanna be dealing with to you know to pandemic same time i tell you then worldwide case they're also continuing to go up sewer prochains forty eight million worldwide were approaching fifty million worldwide. Over one. point two million. And it's still going up again like if you look at daily new cases we've zimbabwe but it's always trending up hasn't really turned down at any point together it still looks like we're in the middle of this pandemic this is not. We're not rounding the corner. We're not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. This is still moving along. You know. I think that the general consensus that we're not really going to put this behind us until we have a vaccine. Maybe correct sounds correct. Me facts vaccination. So i did write in blog about a taste. It's so hard not to write about it because this is what the medical news is. That's happening in the world but what happened. Some recent studies just published study. That i was writing about talking about super spreader events and the idea that about eighty percent of new cases are result of super spreader events and which by definition is when. Any one person infects six or more people at a single event. That's a superspreader event his. There's all these downstream things that come from that all the people. They infected that. They in fact have warrant for that event than you would have not produced all of this cases on average each person infected with covert nineteen gives it to three other people which is a lot. That's a lot for an infection for for that infection rate to be three people per infected individual of course that's on average some zero some people it's more without of course correction and how we're handling covert in the united states is vaccine really the only thing that's going to get us out of this well again. We don't really know because this is still a novel virus that we don't we don't know we've never followed throughout a pandemic we're still in the middle of it right so we don't know how long immunity lasts and that's gonna that's a big variable. I am. I'm still reading conflicting data where some studies eight short other thing. It's at least five months now and some people it might depend on the individual or the population and so at this point. I think it's best to say we don't really know but there's reason to be concerned. Assume that there's long lasting immunity from it because as as a family virus tends not to have long lasting immunity until we know we gotta follow it out to know that So it's possible it could be endemic. We're we're never going to get rid of it. Flew flew been with us forever. Rabies becomes endemic in the population. And we deal with it in that case the only way to really control. Obviously he's all the mask wearing social distancing stuff but if we don't want to have to do that if you want to get our lives back to some semblance of pre pandemic normality really is probably the only thing that's going to do that. But the other thing to come out of this study because they modeled like how the virus spreads and and they modeled the super spreader events you know throughout the pandemic. the virus has what they call a fat tail. So if you graph the the distribution of how many people each infected person spreads it to it peaks three but the question was does to the right of that peaked as a drop off sharply until you have a thin tail or is it drop off slowly so we have fat tail and what they're saying. Is that statistically seems to have a fat tail meaning that big super spreader events are not rare and therefore they contribute a lot to the number of new cases. But what this means is that we can significantly reduce the spread of this virus by limiting large gatherings. If you just say nope no gatherings more than ten people right there. You significantly reduce the spread of this virus. Of course people aren't doing that and it's partly why the pandemic is raging on. But this is a good reminder. That's like no. We still really need to do this. We need to limit large gatherings again. Ab until we get a vaccine seems to me the way things are going. It's just so frustrating. Kind of and again. You hear this. But i don't think it's rhetoric but this idea that if we would just follow guidance And just wear masks. Wash your hands. Keep our interactions minimal. That like we could have a relatively normal life right now relatively instead because we don't follow guidance we're having to have all these starts and stops with shutdowns. People aren't able to engage fully in certain activities of daily living that they could previously and it's frustrating to hear that like it could literally be as simple as behavioral change which apparently is not that simple now now for three hundred plus million people. Would somebody destroy you just yesterday. And she's like oh.

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